QUESTION (FROM ANONYMOUS):
I know part of having faith is not making sense of everything. However, what are your thoughts on bible timeline (earth less than 10,000 years old) but fossils are billions of years old?
ANSWER: Any Truth we discover—whether through Reason or Faith—is God’s Truth: And Truth cannot contradict Truth. So if it seems like a scientific finding contradicts our Faith, we either misunderstand the science or do not fully understand our Faith.
Science tells us the Universe is about 13.8 billion years old. As Catholics, we can happily accept this. Nothing in our Faith requires us to believe otherwise. The idea that the Bible teaches a 10,000 year-old Earth is only arrived at when reading Scripture in an overly literalistic way.
For example, the creation account in Genesis is not discussing science. Genesis teaches the truth about creation, but it is not scientific truth. Bringing our modern, highly scientific assumptions to the text does not help. Theology–not Geology–is the Bible’s point.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church celebrates our ability to learn about the Universe through the natural sciences: Scientific “discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator” (CCC #283).